Mom of 5 pays dou­ble rent, gets Food Stamps cut

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Evan Brandt [email protected]­tu­ry­ @PottstownNews on Twit­ter

Do­ing the right thing is not sup­posed to make things worse.

But try telling that to Sharon, whose name has been changed to pro­tect her fam­ily’s pri­vacy.

Sev­eral months ago, she lost her job and quickly got be­hind on her rent.

So when she got a new job work­ing at a jew­elry store, she worked ex­tra shifts to try to catch up on her rent.

“I’ll be pay­ing dou­ble rent for the next cou­ple of months,” she said. “That doesn’t leave much for food.”

But be­cause Sharon is mak­ing ad­di­tional money, her Food Stamp sub­sidy was cut to $100 per month.

And that is not enough to feed four grow­ing boys, ages, 3, 4, 5 and 8, as well as a 16-month-old baby girl.

“I have to pay cash for food and I don’t have it,” said Sharon who re­ceives only one child sup­port pay­ment each month, “and that has to go to gas, so I can get to my job.”

With money that tight, it will be dif­fi­cult if not im­pos­si­ble for Sharon to put any­thing un­der the tree for her kids.

“The older ones kind of un­der­stand, but I re­ally don’t know how to ex­plain it to the 4-year-old,” she said.

But now, thanks to the gen­eros­ity of Mer­cury read­ers and Oper­a­tion Hol­i­day, she can hold off on that ex­pla­na­tion for an­other year or so.

Food, which in­cludes the fix­ings for a hol­i­day din­ner as well as sta­ples for the pantry, is or­dered, bought, packed and dis­trib­uted by Mer­cury em­ploy­ees and Pottstown High School stu­dent govern­ment vol­un­teers as part of Oper­a­tion Hol­i­day and will be de­liv­ered to Sharon and her fam­ily.

Gift cards for ev­ery child in the pro­gram 16 years of age or younger are pur­chased through Boscov’s and dis­trib­uted in part­ner­ship with the re­fer­ring agen­cies.

“That’s awe­some,” said Sharon. “Thank you so much.”

Now in its 28th year, Oper­a­tion Hol­i­day has pro­vided a brighter hol­i­day sea­son to thou­sands of fam­i­lies with chil­dren. Last year more than $42,000 in do­na­tions al­lowed the pro­gram to pro­vide food and gifts for 147 fam­i­lies with 412 chil­dren in need.

The pro­gram was cre­ated and ex­ists for chil­dren. The mis­sion of Oper­a­tion Hol­i­day is to en­sure that chil­dren of the Pottstown area have food to eat and gifts to open, no mat­ter how poor or dif­fi­cult their fam­ily sit­u­a­tion may be.

There is no over­head with Oper­a­tion Hol­i­day and all funds stay in the Pottstown area. Fam­i­lies are re­ferred by more than 20 lo­cal agen­cies and churches.

Funds are col­lected and au­dited in a non-profit foun­da­tion ac­count man­aged by staff of The Mer­cury.

Oper­a­tion Hol­i­day does not ac­cept fam­i­lies who have not been re­ferred by an agency in or­der to pro­tect the in­tegrity of the pro­gram.

Oper­a­tion Hol­i­day is funded solely by read­ers’ con­tri­bu­tions. All con­tri­bu­tions are tax de­ductible.

Con­tri­bu­tions should be mailed to The Mer­cury, Attn: Oper­a­tion Hol­i­day, 390 Ea­gle­view Blvd., Ex­ton, PA 19341. Make checks payable to Oper­a­tion Hol­i­day.

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